Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cori and Zach: A Recap Part I

Awhile back I promised you guys a recap from this couple. I'm happy to say that the recaps are finally here and, boy, are they! I love that they both wanted to participate in the process of remembering and sharing instead of just the bride which is usually what happens. So the first part of this post will be dedicated to Zach and his thoughts on the day.

"The wedding blogosphere, like much of wedding culture in general, is pretty focused on the bride’s experience. There is a whole fairytale/fantasy aspect of a wedding, that I think grooms (or at least I) can have trouble understanding (though C definitely had no idea of it when we first started either, she had never imagined a wedding & originally wanted to just get married in her parents’ backyard). In any case, a rad DIY, blog-chic wedding expresses a very different kind of fantasy from The Knot & wedding industry complex, but it’s still very much about bringing a certain kind of fantasy party to life. I’m not trying to suggest that there’s anything bad about having a super designed, DIYilicious wedding—our wedding was exactly this kind of DIY & one of the greatest days of my life—and the planning, effort, and details all contributed to the day. But not having the same design urge made a big difference in how I approached the wedding and how I planned for it. Before starting the planning, I hadn’t really thought of thew design aspects at all. My parents had a cooker-cutter wedding that was planned by my grandmother, whereas Cori’s parents had a tiny in-house wedding and her sister (& brother-in-law) had a very personal crafty wedding. For me, my idea of a wedding was more about the start of a committed marriage & somehow I hadn’t really thought about the event as a day. Planning out the myriad details wasn’t part of my initial picture. For me, at least, it’s one of the most important things to understand as a groom. The party is part of the process.

How it felt for me: imagine that from the time we were children people were told that when they finally met the person they wanted to share their life with, and they wanted to commit themselves to each other, instead of having a “wedding” we had to star in a personalized action movie with our fiancée. We needed to hire special effects people, create a soundtrack, learn a little bit of martial arts or some smooth getaway moves. There, of course, would be hundreds of magazines dedicated to the details of the fun parts of the movie, the costumes, the locations, etc. For those who find the action movie too cliché, or just not the kind of way they want to start their relationship, they could turn down the action industrial complex, and turn up the craftier/artsy side—do something more independent, more silent movie-esque or maybe something more trashy b-movie. Now imagine that your partner-to-be and you are planning your movie together. She’s excited about it, because of what it represents for your relationship, and she wants to take an active role and have it be a truly mutual movie. But maybe it would be a little bit of a mysterious endeavor for her had she not really ever imagined starring in a certain kind of movie. Or not having really been privy to being included in the mass media aspects or ever even picked up an action movie mag. Which is to say, there’s not a lot of groom magazines or blogging going on.

So my above example is, of course, extreme, but it’s the best way I have to communicate a kind of uneasiness I felt during the wedding planning process. I wanted to be involved! I wanted everything to be truly mutual, but at the same time I had a lot of trouble getting myself fully into the wedding planning mindset (which scares me when I think about how I am already not your average groom, I’m an avid knitter and do most of the cooking, while C is more hammer and nails). The result was that, when it came to the details, I felt like most of the planning and creative ideas came from C. (Of course all of the big decisions: venue, food, officiant, etc. were completely mutual). We came together at the beginning of our planning process and talked about what we wanted our wedding to be. And we did a lot of brainstorming together. But I just wasn’t motivated to plug into the blogosphere, to pay attention to other weddings, and to plan aspects of the wedding style. Still, C didn’t plan anything without me. We always talked about everything before we made decisions, it’s just that I feel like C brought a lot more of what we eventually decided on, to the table. This is one of my biggest regrets with the wedding, was that I wasn’t more active when it came to this aspect of planning. C was really open for me to take a bigger role, but I felt like my unease with the weddingess (the wedding event, I felt no unease whatsoever about the marriage!) held me back from being a really equal partner. It also put a bigger burden on her to have to pick up the slack. Keep in mind though, this is about the DIY aspects, not things like the ceremony which was top-to-bottom a mutual emotional collaboration. But, in the end, be involved as you can and be up front about why the process might be weird partners!

On the other hand, I feel like the actual wedding-work was doled out mutually when it came to the actual doing. And I think this is important for grooms to keep in mind. If you agree to have those handmade paper decorations that are compostable, do not make your fiancée craft alone. If you don’t want to craft with her, maybe you two should try an alternate plan. We worked on virtually all of the craft projects 50/50, though we did try to play to each other’s strengths. (I figured out how to make the coffee filters into puffballs, and did the easier work of initially taping them together, C. did the more precise work of stringing them into garlands, and shaping them property). Some of the best parts about the wedding lead-up were the hours we spent taste-testing whoopee pie recipes, drinking old-school-cocktails, gocco-ing invites, favor tags, or stringing garlands. It’s serious quality time you are getting to spend with your partner, and in our case our friends, while working on the wedding. The making is one of the best parts of the planning.

The wedding as an event was one of the best days of my life. Lot’s of people seem to give the advice that you shouldn’t sweat the details. And its true that you shouldn’t sweat particular details too much. Stuff will go wrong, and that will be ok. Still, the mass of overall detail and planning does actually contribute to having a day with a really special feel. The wedding was ours, top to bottom, whether we included redundant blog details or not. Details can help make the day special, so it’s good to plan them out in advance. Just be prepared that a lot of them will fall apart in the end, and that’s ok too. And also, make sure to take time to look at the details on the whole that will matter for the day. Like what you say to your soon-to-be during the ceremony. Thanking your friends and family during the toasts. And picking out a suit you like—because seriously, you want to look slamming on your wedding day too, not just your bride."

{all polaroids from their wedding photobooth!}

1 comment:

SuperDave @ Temple of Groom said...

Great post! I've been wedding blogging for a while now and helping my fiance out w/ planning too. I was starting to get seriously burnt out on the whole thing - but your post just made me so excited for our wedding day again. As silly as it sounds, you made me realize that it's not all for nothing! Thanks for writing dude!